5 Ways to Beat the Heat for July 4th
Experts say Independence Day will be one of the hottest on record. Celebrate in style and stay cool in your smart home with these quick tips.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting above-average temperatures for much of the U.S., from Central Alabama to the Central Plains. Check out their summer safety suggestions and be sure to keep children and pets cool – and never left unattended outside or in vehicles where they are at significant risk for heat-related illness and injury.
1. Drink plenty of fluids.
Drink water gradually throughout the day. Other fluids, such as iced tea and coffee, do contribute to the body’s need to stay hydrated, according to a recent study in Harvard Men’s Health Watch, but too much caffeine can make you irritable and jittery, and too much sugar can lead to inflammation and weight gain. Improve overall hydration by alternating water with other beverages if you aren’t ready to give up that sweet tea or soda, or add a slice of lemon, cucumber, or fresh watermelon to water for a healthy flavor boost.
Treat yourself to a 20 oz YETI Rambler Tumbler cup you can sip from throughout the day, or the YETI Rambler 36 oz Water Bottle to refill at work or home, knowing it keeps ice cool for hours. Summer vacation calls for a family-sized canteen, and the YETI Rambler 64 oz Water Bottle is big enough to fit the bill. If you’re packing for a holiday camp-out, try the Coleman Classic Black Cooler, large enough to hold 85 cans or small water bottles, tall enough to hold 2-liter bottles upright, and proudly made in the U.S.A.
2. Set up heat safety alerts.
Heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related illness, injury, and fatality in the United States.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; cool, clammy skin; a fast, weak pluse; dizziness; nausea or vomiting, and muscle cramps. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend fluids, first aid, and moving the victim to a cooler room, and calling 911 if vomiting or other symptoms are severe.
Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms include altered mental status; confusion; throbbing headache; shallow breathing; skin that is hot to the touch, and a rapid, strong pulse. Call 911, move the victim to a cooler location, and try to reduce body temperature with cool cloths or a bath while waiting for help to arrive.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a free Heat Safety app that calculates heat index, gives hourly updates, and cautions users when precautions are advised. It’s especially useful for people who work outside in full sun, where the heat index can skyrocket up to 15 degrees higher than average.
Google Mini and Amazon Alexa device users can easily get current weather reports, but planning ahead for outdoor work or exercise may require in depth forecasting. Try adding a skill to an Amazon Alexa Echo Spot (like BigSky) that uses the Dark Sky Application Programming Interface for detailed, down-to-the-minute answers to heat, humidity, UV index, and barometric pressure conditions anywhere in the world.
3. Keep out of the kitchen.
Cooking in an oven can raise the temperature of your kitchen several degrees – especially if you open the oven door often to check on dinner. Holiday guests running in and out from poolside to pool table may also make your home hard to keep cool. Keep everyone entertained outside and move dinner prep out, too, so your home can cool down for the evening and everyone can enjoy a restful sleep.
For variety and very precise control, plus the deep flavor of charcoal cooking, opt for the Vision Grills Kamado. The Kamado ceramic cooker has smoking and grilling control knobs on the top vent and bottom zone for ultimate control whether slow-smoking at low temperatures or searing heat for grilling steaks.
Laid back folks will enjoy the minimal prep and maximum flavor of the Cuisinart Vertical Charcoal Smoker. Light the charcoal, fill the water bowl, add some flavor-enhancing wood chips, and your work is mostly done. Place an 8 pound brisket or rack or ribs on the 500 square-inch rack and in 3 to 4 hours, dinner is ready to enjoy at your nice, cool kitchen table.
4. Find a fan.
While it’s true that a fan doesn’t lower the actual temperature in a room, it can make you feel noticeably cooler. Fans increase the rate of evaporation in a room and create a wind chill effect, cooling your skin. Set ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise in the summer to push warm air down toward the floor, and consider adding a standing or tabletop fan in a strategic location where it cools your skin but doesn’t endanger small children or pets.
The PureFlow Quiet Turbo Bladeless Fan has a safe design to protect small hands and paws, and its bladeless feature and venting system make it virtually dust-free, an important concerns for people with allergies and asthma. The PureFlow uses air multiplier technology to accelerate the air through the round opening in front of the fan, and simultaneously pull in air from vents, resulting in a clean, quiet, nonturbulent stream of air. Finding the right fan is a small investment for a big return.
5. Chat with your thermostat.
Change your home air filters, remove dust and clogs from the drains in your HVAC system, and then adjust your thermostat to cope with unexpected heat waves. Traditional thermostats must be manually adjusted to accommodate heat. Dropping temperatures too quickly can make compressors work overtime and freeze up. Smart thermostats keep your system running efficiently no matter the weather – a brilliant investment when you realize heating and cooling costs account for about 48% of a home’s power bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Newer thermostats connect with voice enabled devices, including the tiny Amazon Alexa Echo Dot and Google Home Mini. Some models, such as the ecobee 4, have Alexa built right in, so you can ask, “Alexa, What’s the temperature in the house right now?” or say “Hey Google, make it cooler in here.” If you don’t specify instructions, such as “Set the thermostat to 74 degrees,” voice-enabled services will lower the temperature by about 2 degrees.
We make it even easier to connect your home this summer: Purchase a Nest Learning Thermostat or Nest Thermostat E and we’ll add a free Google Home Mini. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to run a more energy efficient HVAC system with a learning thermostat. It takes a week to learn how and when you like to warm up and cool down, then adjusts itself automatically to your preferences.
Chill out with a new fridge or freezer from your local Alabama Power Appliance Center or search SmartNeighbor.com to find the perfect fit for independent living.